Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Blake's axis: visualising Blake

Blake's axis: visualising Blake's poetry? I've brought this back from earlier thoughts..

the poem is the thing .........how to look at Blake's logoi in The Four Zoas and Jerusalem....that is the focus for this blog and web site.

Blake's major prophecies or epics can be read fluently and clearly once Blake's symbols and myth is grasped in detail and the story Blake tells is envisioned in process. Blake's concepts of society, cities, countries... such as Erin, Jerusalem, Babylon, London or Bath are hammered out by Los as 'centres' or in Blake's dynamics 'vortices' of continuously engaged consciousness. i think it can be compared with aspects of wittgenstein's families, barthe's ideas of myth or foucault's contemporary analyses of social dynamics as vertical and horizontal engagements of interacting groups and entities. So his myth is for an audience open to quantum perception on four levels.

broad sweeps to begin ........., to grasp Blake's plot, you the reader/seer become the three-fold 'eye' of the work's moving two-fold visions like an audience watching a play. We watching Caesar walking to be murdered...we know it Caesar doesn't...The book Shakespeare's Heir: William Blake's The Four Zoas Explained details this dramatic narrative clearly.

The delusion of ladders or chains of being

envisioning Blake's art/poetry, especially in his major prophecies, means a suspension of ingrained habits of logocentric-laddered hierarchies, such as our Medieval enclosures of vertical concepts of mind that are expressed in god/priest, god/king and god/leader (know your place on the ladder of success spin-quanta foamstuff), alpha males and females we celebrate and project into, the old Gnostic speculation about live spirit enclosed by lifeless matter, of higher and lower consciousness, orders of ladders of being to step upon and climb, ladders of promotion and ladders of rank, ladders to inform us of our place in what is, in truth, just the rubbish of a flat-earth order of things from the highest to the lowest from Satan at the centre of earth in the fires of hell (as in the late medieval ptolemaic and astrological cosmos), through the planetary heavens of the rings of astrology and the primum mobile egg-shelled about us.

For Blake, there are no ladders in nature. All of is human-made (actually man made, the women are lesser as in Urizen's world order). And it is the product of limited perceptual intelligence. Urizen's Temple of order and perception is structured/laddered upon a two-fold delusion of the other's lesser worth, and their sacrificed energies to satiate appetite for sex or greed or pleasure or the psychosis of sacrificing another for the self. This is symbolised by the remaking of Urizen by Los with the senses limited to the form of Adam and morphologised into the human person of Rueben.

Blake's Satan

In Blake's myth the 'hell' of the centre is not his Satan. Here is Blake's creation of Orc and the explosive destruction of the two-fold militarist/predatory/sacrificial two-fold order. At the centre of being itself is the but the creative power of the furnace of Los/Orc...The furnace, as well-known in Blakean commentary, symbolises the irriducible core of creative encounter with life and death at the centre of individual life in psychological terms. The furnace 'melts' the forms of two-fold life, and inspired by three-fold sublime vision, Los re-forges the two-fold orders of perception and its realities symbolised by Urizen's Temple. Los and Enitharmon re-form two-form life and generation into sublime three-fold vision/time and form/space, and the city of spiritual architecture, or city of sublime material and perceptual creativity, in which this inspired work continually happens is Golgonooza. Golgonooza is given 5000 years out of the 8500 that is the period of Ulro and Generation. (Blake's dating is entirely consistent as shown in William Blake's Jerusalem Explained

It is also useful to see the individual in the most minute energy/space continuum, today we think of the nano world of a unique life form and its boundary conditions where it seems everthing is seen as energy. Blake seems to consider each constituent element, form or state in finitude a Minute Particular and each collation of particle and cemistry and energy a life-time in a universe in which 'everything that lives is holy'. Blake called the outer shell of Albion's 'finite body', his 'skin-organ, so to speak, the circumference (west) the Mundane Shell, and he gave the fires of core being and creative rage at the centre (east) of Albion's materiality to the furnaces of Los (and to Orc in The Four Zoas).

Blake's Satan is another state altogether. It is not a state of creative energy at all. it is negation. As negation it has a being in finitude but, wholly finite, Satan has no infinite life. It is being without liufe and so is consumed as Albion re-awakens to infinte modes of being and perception as in Plates 94-100 of Jerusalem

In such a cosmological system, time is believed to be Divine, the planets are believed to be predictive and astrology is believed to be prophecy. This for Blake is Urizen's two-fold blindness and leads to nature worship, and so is seen as a form of insanity by those in four-fold vision in creative unity with God.

Blake's Mundane Shell

Albion's interiority is composed of the eight energies and their forms they create in self-predation for Albion turned away Divine energy to his own energy, and self-predates until he is self consumed and 'dead'. Blake symbolises these layered interiors of Albion the '27 'rings' or heavens of Ulro'. Then, Blake encloses these 27 rings with Erin's circle of destiny/time/space of 8500 years and this outer ring, the 28th, encloses the 27 and it is called is the Mundane Shell.

For Blake, every element of two-fold perception is based on the self-predation of Albion's auto-idolatry. like a 'bird in an '28 heaven eggshell' consuming its environment 'within' while wholly closed to all 'without'. Such is the immediate consequences of Albion's morally insane narcissism on turning from God to a claim to 'autonomous self-fertilization'.

so i think to read and envision Blake, one first has to dump conditioned social and sexual concepts/symbolism/ritual auto-idolatry of the close-to-god class of the highest (the landlords/owners of work and time/salvation sellers and our moder bankers of usury), down through the (serving/servile/education/enforcement) professions, to the (enslaved) lowest. all belted together by the 'great chain of being'.....ptolemaic, medieval and obsolete economic class systems on a taxation ladder or a capital/wage ladder as marx sees us.....or the sociologically frozen castes of the religious class system as every sectarian church or religious hierarchy of holiness sees itself.....or the evolution of consciousness in its hierarchies of capability as psychology and archaeology and genetics sees us ....or the idea of history as collingwood puts it..and so on...each is a discourse and all things exist in and as narrative too as the post-modernist and decontructralist sees it............and so on into the infinities of semiology.

In this context, Blake created a uniquely expressed synthesis or myth to grasp his understanding of the purpose of being....and it is this synthesis that is analysed and presented in this web site, as independent aesthetic wholes, in two of Blake's major epic myths; namely The Four Zoas and Jerusalem. (Blake's Milton is to come, however, it follows Milton is also a crafted story available as a narrative). I have analysed Milton and will trace its dramatic narrative in the next year or so. Two of the three giant, major, prophecies epics are explained. The third, Milton, is also free from chaos.

for Blake, all elements of these hierarchy are the results of Albion turning 'within' and are the warring components systems of mutual self-predation that is the self annihilated Albion.

the inner chaos of Albion's auto-idolatry feeds upon itself, symbolised by Blake's symbol of 'druidic' nature worship. for Blake, that meant the murderous sacrifice of living things to a deficient concept of a god that needs the energies of the dead for food, to rule the living, to breed them, to feed off them in the finite future in a cycle of life, death and birth: thus in Blake, sacrificing life to feed or please or placate God is error.

Nature worship, sacrifice of humans and animals and the druids

We know now as archeological certain that it was not the druids who built the henges but the indigenous religion of the proto-celts,...and we also know that the circle people were widespread throughout europe and the mediterranean, for example there are thousands of such neolithic stones in modern Jordan.

Blake is partly correct archaeologically... his symbols are of human sacrifices that did actually happen in human history, but there is no trace of blood at Stonehenge or Woodhenge, any other henge, wood or stone...However, Blake's story of Vala's sacrifice of her bonded Luvah on the stems of vegetation is a significant thematic climax to Blake's story of Albion's collapse into self-predation for such human sacrifice is found (e.g. Greece, Babylon, Carthage, 'Latin' America) and animal sacrifice is commonplace globally. Indeed the volume of sacrificed animals at the second Templke is phenomenal, the smell of blood must have descended upon the senses in such centres of slaughter.

Blake depicts Luvah's energies to be a component of Albion's whole consciousness. Luvah's energies are thus finite, deficient and contingent, though Albion adores them as if Luvah and Vala are the power of infinite regeneration. Thus the sacrifice of Luvah's energies fails to resurrect finite life. It can only generate finite life, as symbolised by the iron spindles of Vala, and does not transcend death at all. This is in reciprocal inversion of Blake's story of Jesus, who takes on the suffering of Albion's auto-idolatry, and being the Divine incarnate, uniquely can reawaken Albion to regenerate unity with God.

Blake envisions his Angel of God's Presence, symbolised by Albion, as collapsed inward into a catatonic state of inwardness and self-severance from the infinite source of all life, the creative love of God. Seen from without in three-fold vision, the self-severed Albion coils within from circumference to centre, 'snapping' within, with appalling energy, inward through Blake's dimensional 'gates' like the Gate of Los or Oorthoon, into the mirrored negations of this primordial collapse into finitude, division and splinterered moral blindness. it is an inward collapse and disintegration into madness.

Self-seduced, Albion's inner components sexually compete as quasi-autonomous, self-predating components, and so consume each other until they kill each other off, feeding off each other until they are all dead or collapsed into primordial chaos. In Blake's myth, these components operate as vortical identities mutually overlapping and interacting; all life within Albion is composed of Minute Particulars as Blake symbolised it. We the audience, seeing from three-fold vision, understand they operate within Albion in their independent vortices, in two-fold vision.

The only energies available for sustenance within Albion are the energies of life taken by feeding off death. The energies become like vampires. This is the life of finitude, or nature as symbolised by Vala's web or net or veil. In Blake's myth, Jerusalem always gives the souls and Vala always gives the bodies or material form. In Vala's finite nature, the components seek power over all other components for sustenance and for breeding future sustenance. Hence the children are sacrificed, for they serve to give the remainder of their life to those that drain the energies.

Jesus saves Albion by entering finitude from the centre exploding outward, as must be, the revelation of infinite life in finite life necessararily consumes finitude. In Blake's vision of Divine energy, Jesus assumes all the error in the Divine kenosis or sacrifice. Error, or the Limits Of Adam and Satan, is thereby revealed as finite being without infinite life, which in turn thereby is cast off. The the hardened finite spectre of the two Limits or the State of Satan and Adam are consumed entirely.

Albion's perceptions are infinitely cleansed of the Limit or State of Satan and of Adam and he is re-awakened in the bosom of Jesus....... in three-fold vision 'all eternity' has always seen Albion as 'dead' in the sleep of death, in the arms of Jesus ....in Jerusalem for example, as is symbolised by Jesus' architecture of Albion's Tomb. ....only Albion cannot see himself....and that blindness is envisioned as two-fold vision by the reader.

To visualise Blake then, imagine consciousness as expanding and contracting from your deepest concentration centre to the furthest limits or circumference of your evolving mental and visual energies. that is, to see this as an expansion and contraction in all directions outward and all directions contracting inward. For Blake, that is described as moving from east to west. It also means we envision axis from zenith to nadir as symbolised by the Seven Eyes of God or the Seven Furnaces of Los. In Blake's two-fold vision this means moving from north to south. At the boundaries are Blake's limits, for examples, the Limits of expansion and contraction, the Limits of translucence and opacity and the Limits of Adam and Satan, and the casting out of limits in the apocalypse leads to purification.

Albion's Hubris is cleansed and Albion is restored in forgiveness to unity in creative regeneration.

To the secular reader such as Youngquist, Webster and so many other fine scholars, this journey is seen as the descent onto madness and return to unity through creative effort by Blake. A school of Blakean psychology with be valuable indeed.

Urizen's journey in Night the Sixth

For Blake, three-fold vision begins by seeing Albion's mental energies 'within' from the infinite perspective 'without'. Urizen's journey of Night the Sixth (William Blake's The Four Zoas Explained, Chapter VIII) clearly proves Blake's conscious narrative control. To go from the zenith to nadir is thus seen as a concomitant two-dimensional journey from south to north or, for Blake, from the axis of the zenith at the south pole to the nadir at the north pole. We see Urizen enter all quadrants from the circumference where he meets his daughters, through zenith, centre (sets vortices), and nadir, and returns to the circumference. He however, sees his voyage only in two-fold compass points north, south east and west.

The two versions of Night the Seventh follow the journey of Night the Sixth. They are stereo-textual. Like stereophonic music there is a unique 'sound' in each speaker that is different, uses different instrements for example, and there is another 'sound', a third 'sound' in the privilidged auditory imagination of the audience that is not 'in' either speaker. There are different notations too existing as different 'scores'. We see in Blake's emendations and additions that his textual changes integrates Ninght the Sixth with the two Nights the Seventh and Night the Eight. (see William Blake's The Four Zoas Explained).

From the infinite, Albion's vortical energy sweeps rotate outward and inward about an axis through the centre of Albion's consciousness from zenith to nadir. the seven furnaces, and the seven eyes of god are complementary symbols of the vortical within and without bonding of Albion's four-fold personhood in the finite to its infinite expression, in the teleology of God's 'economy' or plan of salvation. Though, as must be so, once turned from the face of Divine energy Albion is blind to Divine life and also to salvic mercy. Thus the axis is an omnisicent act of unconditional Divine love and sacrifice.

It takes the incarnation, the physical birth, death and resurrection of Jesus actually experienced and perceived by two-fold perception to awaken Albion from 'eternal death'. Closed within, Albion cannot perceive eternal life, but saw only nature and a finite birth/life/death continuum. In Blake's myth, the finger of God followed by the incarnation reveals divinity and so infinitely transcends death. this is Blake's three-fold-vision. then, then in Jesus' second coming, Albion enters unity with God. this unity of the 'within' and 'without' is Blake's four-fold vision as in plates 94-100 of Jerusalem.

Thus as shown in the three books in. www.thefourzoas.com, it is impossible to perceive the vortices of Blake's two, three and four-fold vision without understanding that his poetic vehicle is his geography of time and space as outlined above as in the three books....it is through Blake's geography the reader visualises the concommitant dimensions that Blake envisions.

The four energy identities of zenith and nadir and centre and circumference are four vortices of psycho-physical energies and are whirl out 'within' as eight personae about the axis, not unlike the torus rotating about gravity in time predominent vortices and space predominent reciprocal toriodal vortices.

In summary, in The Four Zoas, Milton, Jerusalem, and implicitly everywhere, Urizen and Ahania are the zenith/south; Los and Enitharmon are the nadir/north; Luvah and Vala are the centre/east; and Tharmas and Enion are the circumference/west. thus each 'vortex realm' is a duality of energy and form.....togther they are Albion.

Further, the four realms are the psycho-physical finite expressions of Blake's four zoas and four emanations. With our three-fold vision as audience, we see their collapse into two-fold vision and self-predatory chaos. We can envision the sacrifice of the incarnate Divine principle as Jesus born within Albion, and we see Blake's apocalyptic cleansing of the second coming and see Albion re-awaken in unity in the love of God, a love that Blake has presented as always within and without.

Thus we see in Blake's plots in The Four Zoas and Jerusalem, how Los and Enitharmon build a divinely inspired three-fold analogy of the city of God/the Human Form Divine, and Blake calls that Golgonooza. The prophetic vision of this sublime analogy, organises from the furnaces of creative power, the spiritual architecture of Golgonooza out of the interior of Albion's energy from the centre/east outward to the circumference/west.

In finitude (as in the stereo-textual Night the Seventh (a) and Night the Seventh (b) Urizen builds a Temple dynamic counterpoint to Golgonooza. The predatory energies of Albion seek in two-fold blindness to build this Temple of quasi-holiness to ritualise the murder of life to feed the self-predating component energies, and so to enslave sexuality for vampirism and for breeding, and for slave labour and war.

Blake's Jesus and sacrifice

The two opposing spiritual architectures, namely, the Temple and Golgonooza, energise time and space in inverse vortices of power. One vortex is in Night the Seventh (a) and the other is in Night the Seventh (b). they operate in stereo-textual unity. The vortical centres together focus upon the finger of God, the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection in Night the Eighth.

The Divine sacrifice in human life becomes a universal event-vortex that leads 'naturally to the apocalypse or the consumption of limited finite energy and form in the intensities of Divine energies and infinite regenerative forms to the cleansing and unification of each zoa/emanation reciprocal and so to the re-awakening of Albion in unity within and without in unity with Divine energy.

As is shown beyond reasonable critical doubt in my books, in Jerusalem there is a very different mythic logoi to that in The Four Zoas. There are four chapters each of which is a different world. In the four worlds there are four narrative sets of serial action. The four become one from Plate 94 to Plate 100 or the end.

However in both epics, each world is one whole vortex that whorls within, each is reversed by Divine intervention as the Finger of God in the Seventh Furnace, each describe a unique vision of the two limits or states and the incarnation, and each whorls outward to the limits of finitude. This boundary is symbolised by Albion's death in the arms of Jesus. thus the four zoas and emanations and the worlds in which they exist become one and Albion is awakened in regenerative unity with God.

Blake's final vision

Blake's final vision is symbolised in the last lines of The Four Zoas and most powerfully in the extraordinary visionary accomplishment of Plates 94-100 of Jerusalem.